Interview With Maison Christofle’s New CEO Nathalie Remy
In an interview with LUXUO, Nathalie Remy, newly appointed CEO of Christofle shares her excitement for the luxury Maison.
The Maison Christofle, a French silver specialist, announced the appointment of luxury expert Nathalie Remy as CEO. With more than 20 years of experience in the luxury sector, Nathalie Remy brings to the table a wealth of knowledge in management for several fashion and beauty houses. Nathalie Remy’s preceding stint at McKinsey & Co. allowed her to develop a unique strategic and multicultural vision of the luxury industry. In an interview with LUXUO, Nathalie Remy shares her excitement for the luxury Maison and the impact of e-commerce on the retail front.
Interview With Maison Christofle’s New CEO Nathalie Remy
You have spent several years at McKinsey at a top position, guiding CEOs and companies in their decision process and strategy. How does it feel to be now at the helm of a luxury Maison like Christofle?
It feels good! I’m extremely honoured and excited to work for such an amazing brand, rich of 188 years of history, with a unique heritage and incredible know-how, and work with passionate people to build its future. I also enjoy very much the diversity of my new job. I’m only working for one brand which is very different from what I used to do as a McKinsey partner, but Christofle encompasses diversity in all areas: it’s a truly international company with distribution in close to 70 countries; we have the most diverse distribution model I’ve ever seen including our own boutiques and concessions, franchisees, multi-brand retailers, e-commerce and also pure B2B sales; and we are fully integrated from design, creation, manufacturing, supply chain, sales and after sales. In addition, we are at a turning point for the brand and the company, and I’m fully energized by the challenge. After more than 20 years advising CEOs I particularly appreciate the opportunity to directly influence my company’s performance and to see the impact of my decisions every day while also taking a longer-term perspective to build a bright future together with my teams.
Was Christofle a brand part of your childhood? Or you got to discover the brand later?
I was born in Brussels and grew up without Christofle. I got to discover the brand once arrived in Paris, actually when I got married in 2000… Christofle was the main brand on my wedding registry, embodying French luxury and art of living.
Christofle has a factory in Normandy, France. How important this French savoir-faire? Have you had time to go through the archives and past designs of Christofle?
Christofle has indeed its own Manufacture in Yainville, and I believe it is one of our key assets. Our know-how is truly distinctive, and we have several “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” working in our Haute Orfèvrerie atelier. I had the chance to spend a full day visiting our archives with our Patrimony director, and it was a truly extraordinary experience. We have 11 000 pieces and more than 10 000 drawings and 22 000 pictures that represent the depth and breadth of Christofle history. We have re-issued iconic pieces like the Teapot Aero created in 1957 by Gio Ponti and we also take inspiration from these archives to design modern products like our Club centrepiece limited series.
You are considered as a prominent specialist of retail. What experience do you wish customers to have when entering a Christofle boutique?
I would love to offer every customer entering our store a delightful and surprising experience. Christofle brand is embodying the Art of Sharing, and we want to share unique moments with our customers and contribute to building wonderful memories for the long term. We are going to invest more in beautiful window displays which is our first contact with our clients and also we will enhance our product universes inside the boutique. Communicating on our services like the personalization one is also important for our customer experience: engraving, bespoke lacquer colour and special orders. We organize special events with our “French art de Vivre Ambassadors” who unveil to our customers “the art of sharing” by Christofle.
Can e-commerce and digital innovations replace physical boutiques ?
I don’t believe that physical stores could disappear. In a world where more and more things are dematerialized with the rise of digital I think people are actually looking for “real” relationships, and our sales associates are there for that. Now the role of boutiques will most likely evolve, and the store of the future will be a combination of a showroom to see and touch the products, a theatre to showcase our brand universe, a gathering place where you can share great moments with friends…and of course where you can get extraordinary advice and still buy products.
Christofle has had successful cooperation with high-profile artists such as Ora Ito, Richard Hutten. Will you continue in such direction?
Yes, it’s part of our DNA to collaborate with artists and designers but we also have an internal design studio which is the main source of new creation. We will develop from this year new type of collaboration: very exclusive limited series with fashion designers or creative personalities to attract new consumers and create the buzz around the brand.
Who would be today your favourite contemporary art artist?
Personally, I don’ have only one favourite artist but I appreciate several like JR, Sterling Ruby, Anish Kapoor and Takashi Murakami
Lately, Christofle has been associated to the respected Yacht Style Awards. What inspires you this association of Christofle to the yachting world?
We have equipped very famous and luxurious ocean liners since the 19th century. The Normandy was the most famous of them, with 40 000 Christofle pieces just for the first class dining room.
Today, yachting is a growing part of the luxury “Art de Vivre” sector and therefore at the core of what we do. Yacht builders and interior designers who decorate these yachts are important prescriptors of our brand and it’s therefore important for us to be associated with this type of event.
Christofle is about lifestyle experience, travels, gatherings with family and friends. Do you have a special place you like to escape to and meet friends, family ?
I have a house on the French Riviera where I receive friends and family during the summer. I love the sea, the light of the south of France and I enjoy a lot to organize lunches and dinners to share great moments in front of the sea.
Is there a person, an artist, a scientist who has had a major influence on your choices and the way you apprehend the world ?
My parents were the most influent persons in my life so far… They gave me their core values: people care, optimism, hard work and resilience.